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Sylvan - Presets CD (album) cover





3.52 | 168 ratings

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Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Sylvan - Presets

I came in touch with this German band via British rockers Marillion. Sylvan used to support them on their 2005 "Not Quite Xmas Tour" in Germany and a friend of mine went to see Marillion in Cologne back then. Afterwards he was not only raving about how well Marillion performed that evening, but he was also pleasantly surprised by that relatively unknown German band that supported the band that evening...

And so he talked me into checking out Sylvan's "Posthumous Silence" album, because -as he told me- it was "... a combination of Dream Theater's "Scenes from a Memory" and Marillion's "Brave" album". You have to admit... that description sounds rather tempting, does it not?

Anyway, I decided to check them out and I liked several aspects of their music, especially the beautiful vocals and the various mellow parts of that concept album, but I thought the band were lacking that bit of 'punch' whenever the music turned from dreamy pop rock into a form of progressive metal. Those heavy guitar riffs just did not sound heavy at all to these ears. And I have to admit that I could perhaps be a bit spoiled when it comes to heavy riffing, but I can't help thinking that if Sylvan just adapted those parts to a bit more crunchy, aggressive sound on the guitars, that the whole thing would've worked a lot better... Anyway, I'm drifting off..

It was then that I discovered the fact that in 2007 this talented bunch of musicians would release a follow-up to "Posthumous Silence" and I was in high hopes that they would but that minor aspect of their music to perfection... And they succeeded in doing so if you ask me!

Perhaps that because of the fact that, unlike "Posthumous Silence", this new album ("Presets") is a collection of songs and not a full-blown prog concept album, gives the band a bit more space to write 'song-songs' instead of narrating-songs... What I'm trying to say is that the music sounds more in balance than it did on the album's predecessor. And as a result of this, this whole album has a more straightforward feel to it and perhaps it is less progressive, but I know I already love this album more than I liked "Posthumous Silence" in the beginning.

The band aim for a more coherent and less fragmented approach here, which means lesser variation between heavy and slow sections and as I said before the songs are more song based and not constantly shifting and changing key and time signature. Nevertheless, the band still maintain that typical sound...

There are still those evocative string sections, the vocalist still manages to raise the hairs in the back of my neck with his warm voice (I just love the way he raises the pitch of his voice at moments, that's what made me love the band in the first place actually!), but here they've tuned their guitars to a more 'rocking' (for lack of a more suitable adjective) sound and there's even a couple of drum computer segments included and somehow I like it when artists include those in their music, at least when they put them to good use like they do here!

With "Presets" Sylvan delivered one of my favourite albums of 2007 so far.

Tristan Mulders | 4/5 |


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